Pol Vandevelde is associate professor of philosophy at Marquette University. He is the author of ætre et discours. La question du langage dans l’itineraire de Heidegger (1927Ð1938).
The Task of the Interpreter offers a new approach to what it means to interpret a text, and reconciles the possibility of multiple interpretations with the need to consider the author’s intention. Vandevelde argues that interpretation is both an act and an event: It is an act in that interpreters, through the statements they make, implicitly commit themselves to justifying their positions, if prompted. It is an event in that interpreters are situated in a cultural and historical framework and come to a text with questions, concerns, and methods of which they are not fully conscious. These two aspects make interpretation a negotiation of meaning. The Task of the Interpreter provides an interdisciplinary investigation of textual interpretation including biblical hermeneutics (Gregory the Great’s Homilies on Ezekiel), translation (Homer’s The Odyssey), and literary fictions (Grass’s Dog Years and Sabato’s On Heroes and Tombs). Vandevelde’s philosophical discussion will appeal to theorists of both continental and analytical/pragmatic traditions.